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Family Notices







ARCHAEOLOGISTS IN THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN. rBY PELAGIUS]. The members of the British Archaeological Association which held its annual meetings this year at Cardiff, made two excursions through the Vale. The first on Tuesday week. when the route chosen was through Ely, St. Nicholas, thence to Llantrythyd, which was the first ruin inspected. Llantrythyd place and the Church were carefully examined. The old place is fast becoming a thing of the past. What seemed the most attractive spot to the distinguished visitors was two monu- ments in the Church. The first under a niche on the north wall was a recumbent figure with hands folded in prayer, head tonsured resting on square pillows the other is an altar-tomb with mural appendages, representing Sir Anthony Mansel and Elizabeth, his wife. The estate of Llantrythyd was one of the small portions given by Robert Fitzhamon t3 some of the old Welsh families when he conquered Morganwg. This estate was given to Hywel ap Jestyn, and not as said by a local contemporary to Madawc ap Jestyn. Madawc was given the Rhuthyn estate. Driving to Cowbridge luncheon was partaken of at the Bear Hotel, and after lunch the Church was viewed. But Leland, who travelled through South Wales in the beginning of the 16th century, tells us in his Itinerary that the Church of Llan- blethian, or as he writes it Llanlithian is the head parish church. The party next examined the old wall of Cowbridge, the only portion now in a fair state of preservation being a small portion to the south-west of the town. Leland tells us that the wall was three-quarters of a mile long, with three gates on the north, the east, the west, and Porte Meline, by South Cowbridge, was fortified by Robert Sancwintin about A.D. 10D0. He also built the Castle of Llanblethian, or, as it is now called, St. Quintins Castle, which was the next place examined by the visitors. This castle was twice destroyed by the Welsh, as Sir Robert was no favourite with the Welsh—less so than any other of the Norman Lords (which is saying a good deal), for it is said that he gave them no lands in Frank pledge as the others did. The only portion now remaining to show its former strength and glory is a fine gateway. Leaving the castle of St. Quintins the party crossed the river Thaw or Dawen for Llanmihangel, which is a fine specimen of the old Welsh manor houses, and is one of the few now inhabited. The present tenant is Mr. William Jenkins. Over the fire-place in the panelled room there is a fiat Tudor arch. having six Coats of Arms above it. Mr. Illtyd Bond Nicholl (The Ham) gave an admirable description of the heraldic devices. Leland tells us that James Thomas, who dwelt at Lanviengle, as he writes the name, was a gentleman of note. From Llanmihangel the party drove to Flem- ingstone to visit the shrine of old lolo Morganwg. Here again is another of the old Welsh Manor Houses which is inhabited. The present tenant is Mr. D. Jenkins, whose family has lived here for generations. Leaving the village, which takes its name from Fleming, who was lord of it, and was descended from one of the thirteen peers of Glamorganshire, the distinguished visitors next halted at Beaupre Castle. This castle was owned by Llewellyn Conan, then by Robert ap Sisyllt, Welsh chieftains. The English name for Sisyllt is Cecil, and it was one of that name that sold it to the Bassets, of St. Hilary, an old family descend- ing from Sir Thurston de Bassett, who was Grand Falconer to William the First. The portion of the castle that is in the best preservation is in the Renaissance style, namely, the porch and gate- way. The porch is said to be built by one Gwilym Twrch, a native of Coity. who spent some time in Italy. The name Beaupre, from the Nor- man Beau-pre — fair meadow — is descrip- tive of the spot and the place is well worth the notice- of the antiquarian. It was in 11;81 that a Gorsedd y Beirdd was held at Beaupre Castle, under the patronage of Sir Richard Bassett. The Welsh name for Beaupre. and indeed a literal translation of the word Beaupre is Maes Essyllt. The aforementioned Gwilym Twrch. or as it is sometimes written, Risiart Twrch. who was a celebrated architect, was driven by a love affair to become a wanderer for 20 years in Italy and other parts of Europe, and the architecture bears evidence of the wanderer's liking for the Italian style of architecture. After a short visit to St. Hilary, the party returned to Cardiff, highly pleased with their long day's outing. On Friday the members took an open tour in the Vale. Passing through St. Lytlians. the first halt was at St. Nicholas, were Mr. F. G. Evans. F.R.A.S.. read a paper descriptive of the cromlech of that place, which, he said. possessed one of the largest top stones in Great Britain. Lancarvan was next visited, and an interesting account of the place was given by Mr. O. H. Jones. J.P., Fonmon Castle. The school, or monastery, established here by St. Cadocus, was one of the first in Great Britain, the other two being the one at Llan illtyd. under St. Iltutus, and the one at Henllan, under Dubricius. Some say that it was at Llanvithen the school was first established, but Sir Edward Stradling—no mean authority—gives the Inertly as at Lancarvan. Cadocus (Cattwg Ddoeth) was a contemporary of St. Iltutus. They, together with Dubricius and Mauritius, a king of the country, were brought up and educated at St. Germanus. It was in the plain of Lancarvan that the Glamorgan bards some time held their Gorsedd. The"cylch" where the ancient Gorseddau were held were also called Llan, which meant an enclosure, hence perllan—an orchard gwinllan—a vineyard ydlan—a cornyard. xc.. vVc. Perlawr partas mown glas glog, Yn LLtnaidd a Meithonog. D. AP GWILYM. The chancel arch (transitional Norman) is probably the oldest part of the church, and is said to be from designs of Walter de Map, in the reign of irtmryll. Leaving Lancarvan. the party drove past the site of East Orchard Castle, en route for Llantwit Major. The Castle of East Orchard is situate on the river Thaw, about miles from the port of Aberthaw. and. together with the Oastle of West Orchard. was built by the Berkerolles family to defend two celebrated orchards, one of them, the best. was destroyed by Ivor Bach. Rogerus de Berkerolles was one the twelve Norman Knights between whom Robert Fitzhamon apportioned Glamorgan, and East Orchard was the portion given to him. The pro- per name of the castle is Norehete Castle, and was inhabited by one of the Stradlings when Leland visited the Vale of Glamorgan, into whose posses- sion it came by marriage. One of them had married Gwenllian. sister and heiress of Sir Lawrence Berkerolles, in 1411. Henry I. paid a visit to the Orchards. It was into this castle that Owen Gleiidower came disguised as a harper, anxious to ascertain the feeling of the country. Sir Lawrence spoke violently of Owen, and ex- pressed a. wish to have him in his clutches. On the departure of the harper next morning he pro- duced his seal, which so frightened Sir Lawrence that he lost his power of speech for the remainder of his life. Through Sc. Athan the route lay within a stone throw of the site of west Norehete Castle, but only a few mounds now mark the spot. The next place of interest passed through was Boverton, the Bovium of the Romans, where there was a station on the Julia Strata. Herein was a castle of Jestyn ap Gwtgan, and after him the Fitzhamon family. A respected townsman, and one who has benefittco. the town of Llantwit- Major by erecting at his own expense our splendid Town-hall clock. The late Mr. Wm. Thomas, of Ivy House, used to remark that Robert Fitzhamon showed his sense by keeping the Manor of Boverton. the most fertile in Glamorgan unto himself A.D. 1.216. John. King of England, having escaped to Wales concealed himself for six months at Boverton-place, under the tdiu-t of Gerald Fitzalan. In driving to Llantwit, about 300 yards from the village of Boverton, the party crossed the old Roman road, the via Julia Maritima. known locally as the Causeway. After luncheon at the Cross Keys, the ancient Church was visited. Mr. Storrie and Mr. Illtyd B. Nicholl acting as guides. Mr. Xicholl gave a review of the various antiquitus of this place. This Church is full of antiquities. First, there is the Lodge Chapel, 40Jft. long next. the old Church, 64ft. lastly, the modern Church. 98ft. by 58, erected by Richard Neville. Lord of Glamorgan, temp—Henry 1. I am aware that over this anti- quarians diirer.and many will remember, when the R.A.S. Society visited Llantwit some 18 years ago. the controversy between Professor Freeman and the late Mr. William Thomas, Ivy House, a local antiquarian of note. The professor attempted to prove that the so-called modern church was in fact the oldest part of the building, and relied on the style of architecture of the windows to prove that fact. when he was suddenly interrupted by the old gentleman. Mr. Thomas, with the remark. You know nothing about it, sir." The distin- guished party stood aghast; at the interruption, and the Marquis of Bute, walking up to the old sage, invited him up the steps of the old cross to explain himself, which he readily did in his forcible and graphic style. Turning to Mr. Freeman, he said. If you were a practical builder like myself you could see that the upper portion of the east church was built last by the stone work, the connection with the tower proving that it was impossible for the east to have been built after the west, or old church, and the windows on which you lay so much stress are plain to any common mason inserted in the building after it was erected, and evidently fixed there to be preserved from some building going to ruin." It is right to men- tion that old Iolo. who was a practical stone mason, as well as a diligent student of antiquity, was of the same opinion as Mr. Thomas. Close by thecliurch, to the north, is the site of St. Iltutus's school, or monastery. David Xicholls, Esq.. Lan- maes—an ancestor of Mr. Nicholl, who acted as guide at Llantwit—wrote a very minute account of the rise and fall of this college, and lolo transcribed the same from Mr. Nicholl's manuscripts, 1729. I do not know if ,the MSS. are still preserved. From Mr. Nicholls I learn that in 560 a great gathering took place in this Church to conclude a peace between King Morcant and Trix. his ifhcle. Amongst the many Abbots of Llantwit, we find Piro, Kennit, Samson, Elvaid, Elquidd, Gwrhavot, Tomre, Elised, &c. Bishop Patarntis was first bishop if Llantwit. and after that of St. Padarnus in Car- diganshire. After turning the brakes towards home the party visited Fonmon Castle. This structure is of great extent, and in good preserva- tion. As your readers know, it is now inhabited by Mr. O. H. Jones. County Councillor for the Dinas Powis Division it has doubtless been much modernised. Mr. Jones is a descendant of a Parliamentary officer. who fought under Oliver Cromwell, and amongst many valuable pictures in his possession is one of Oliver Cromwell, of which it is said that there is but one other original painting in existence.


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